Hal Handel, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the New York Racing Association, will leave his post at the end of this year’s Saratoga meet, NYRA announced June 29.
Handel was hired by NYRA in September 2007 after serving in an executive capacity for Greenwood Racing in Pennsylvania.
“I very much appreciate having had the opportunity to work at NYRA,” Handel said in a statement. “It has been my great pleasure to work with the first-class staff here, along with our board of directors and terrific New York horsemen. I am very optimistic that NYRA is on a good path and has a bright future.”
Handel didn’t say what his plans are after he leaves NYRA.
“I have been managing racetracks continually for more than 25 years, and the time has come to do some different things,” he said. “This decision was made before (in early May), and the timing was agreeable to NYRA.”
Handel, 63, also held executive roles at Monmouth Park and Meadowlands while working for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. Handel earlier served as deputy attorney general for the State of New Jersey Organized Crime and Special Prosecutions Unit and also the New Jersey Racing Commission.
“I have known Hal for nearly 25 years, and he is one of the best racing executives in the country,” NYRA president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said. “In his four years with NYRA, he has made significant contributions in many areas, including the facilities, horsemen’s relations, simulcasting, marketing, and customer service.”